Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chatroulette’s marketing genius turns problem into profit

Remember Chatroulette, the controversial video chatting service that randomly pairs users for webcam conversations? The service quickly gained notoriety for it’s X-rated exhibitionism. With the site’s founders unable to prevent the relentless horde of flashers, traffic to the site dropped and Chatroulette was forced to put their shutters down, temporarily.

Now in a brilliant move, the site’s eighteen-year-old founder Andrey Ternovskiy is using the many pant-less chatters, who nearly killed off his site, to double Chatroulette’s revenue. How?

The answer was lazy, simple, and ingenious—in other words, pure Ternovskiy. He started redirecting pantless visitors to Hustler, an adult Web site, and their computers would forever be blocked from Chatroulette. At first, Ternovskiy and his colleagues were banning a hundred thousand users a day, but now, he says, the flasher rate is down to one in two hundred—and the adult Web site pays for the referrals, giving Ternovskiy’s company, at least for the time being, a healthy revenue stream.

This is nothing short of genius.

Although we have no idea what the revenue was before, so doubling might not mean much, really. And as the Business Insider pointed out, “a business model based on banning users for life is problematic.”

[via The New Yorker]

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